Floating Hotel Resort
The Coffee Shop
An innovation is the Coffee Shop, a particularly welcome feature of many modern hotels in Europe and America , QE2's Coffee Shop, an L-shaped room, is designed to give practically a 24-how service of light meals. By night it becomes a discotheque; tables and chairs are removed from the central area, and it becomes a dance floor; the lights are dimmed, and the room is set for an evening's entertainment.
Connected to the Coffee Shop is the Juke Box, a room for 'teenagers. A striking feature of Elizabeth White's and Tony Heaton's design is a Formica mural depicting sailors and dancers. The mural is broken at intervals by a series of distorting mirrors.
On the other side of the ship is a particularly interesting feature of QE2 - the London Gallery , designed by Stefin Buzas and Alan Irvine , for the display of original pictures, prints, and photographs taken on board. The dark blue carpet is repeated in the shopping areas on both sides of the ship. These are a miniature Bond Street or 5 th Avenue afloat.
Next comes one of the most notable public rooms to be found in any ship. Its name is the Double Boom, takes from the principle, introduced with such success in “ Carmania ” and “ Franconia ”, of creating a space on twat deck levels. Here, on the Boat Deck, is the upper level looking down at the auditorium on the Upper Deck below with its big dance floor. The Double Room is the largest public room in the ship. In his design, Jan Bannenberg sought to present a room that could be both sparkling and exciting, when it is used for dancing and gala night, and a setting by day for conversational groups, reading writing or card playing. The marks striking feature is beautiful spiral staircase, 24 feet in width. So that room may not seem overlarge, in various parts are “snuggeries”, intimate, lined recesses with banquettes, which can be used for small groups. There are two bars; one faces towards the stern through picture windows. On either side of the Boat Deck are open promenades.
From the Boat Deck, lifts and stairways serve the Upper Deck, again a deck given wholly to public rooms. Here one should digress, to take a quick appreciation of the completely functional layout of the ship's “living spaces”.
Hotel fashion, the aim was to allocate a certain number of decks as recreational decks, and a certain number as sleeping areas, by day largely convertible to “day rooms”. Therefore, QE2's configuration works out to four recreational decks: Sports Deck, Boat Deck, Upper Deck and Quarter Deck, plus part of the Signal Deck: and five decks, numbered one to five, as accommodation decks, with parts of two decks, six and seven, allocated to gymnasia, Turkish and sauna baths, and indoor swimming pools.
Forward on the Upper Deck is the Look Out, designed by Crosby, Fletcher, Forbes. This, as its name implies, faces forward towards the bows. It is essentially an informal room: during the daytime it will be a popular rendezvous for a pre-lunch party. At night-time, with chairs turned inward, curtains drawn, and the lighting dimmed, the Look-Out becomes a night club. The main feature of the room is the rear wall, faced with stainless steel, with bronze anodised aluminium vertical strips. This reflective wall, designed in collaboration with Gillian Wise , is intended to increase the apparent width or the room.
An integral part of this wall is the cocktail bar. Again, an elaborate lighting system enables the room to change character at the touch of a switch, from the big and brassy to the quiet and intimate. The carpet is olive green Wilton ; the stalls and columns are Lebanon cedar veneer mounted on Marinite, the completely non-flammable material used as grounds throughout the shirt.
On the starboard side, a section of carpet can he rolled away to reveal a dance floor, illuminated by a complex or lights shining down on the floor. The designers have not overlooked that, with the nautical title of “Look out”, the room should give ship and sea-losers a devise to remind them of the ship's progress. A microfilm reader projects facsimile charts of the ship's route, particularly useful on long cruises where there are many ports. There is an adjoining compass repeater, and a clock connected to the ship's master clock.
Restaurants on top
The Upper Deck's layout is original, for it combines purely recreational spaces such as the Look-out, the Theatre and the Double Room), with one of the three restaurants - the Columbia Restaurant. This is not the first time that restaurants have been placed high in the superstructure, but it is certainly the first where they have appeared high up in a passenger liner of this size. The advantages are natural daylight and a feeling of spaciousness; one important factor that influenced the decision to abandon the traditional practice of placing restaurants lower down in the hull was the increasing effectiveness of stabilisers, which all but eliminate rolling.
One important task facing Dennis Lennon , the interior design coordinator, was the imposing on the decorative treatment of the ship as an entity, degrees of unity and cohesion. For one thing, he and his partners were responsible for the decorative design of significant public areas, such as the main foyer, the stairways, and alleyways, and the main restaurants. The foyer, says Dennis Lennon, had to be striking and original, to give the passenger arriving on beard an exhilarating first impression.
Not so very long ago in passenger liners divided into three types of accommodation, the eventual outcome of the design was akin to three separate ships. In QE2, the stairways and alleyways are uniform in design throughout the ship. And in the three restaurants, the Britannia , Columbia and the Grill Room , the design conforms to purpose.
The largest restaurant in the ship is the Britannia, with seating for over 800 passengers. On Atlantic service this will be the tourist restaurant. During breakfast, not lunch, the natural brightness of the room's whiteness, with the contrast of red band on the walls and the dark blue of the deck covering, is enhanced by the big windows.
A room of many parts follows. As a generic name, it is the Theatre, but it has many uses. The balcony is on the Boat Deck, and here on the Upper Deck is the main auditorium. Together they provide 530 seats, to be occupied by people enjoying pre-release films, live shows, or, if the occasion is one of business, by businessmen using QE2 as a conference ship, able to provide instant translation facilities, project promotional films, and behind the scenes, a secretarial and duplicating service, to complete the business function.
Lighting, in QE2 it will have been noticed, has been the major ally at the disposal of designers. In the Theatre, two basic kinds of lighting are used; they can be set in two colours to suit the occasion. Vertical and horizontal lighting is concealed, and extended on to the stage area to give an open stage appearance. There is also a system of stage spotlights. In the colour scheme, the designer, Gaby Schreiber, used white for the main walls, a charcoal carpet, grey ceilings, and for the theatre-seat - specially designed to achieve robustness with lightness - striped plum/mauve upholstery. The stage area itself is left open, but when it is in use for live shows, pivoted panels flanking the stage area form wings from the adjacent dressing rooms.
Next to the Theatre, on opposite sides of the ship, are the Library and Theatre Bar. The Library is a longish narrow room just abaft of amidships, in a situation of peace and quiet, a space liberally furnished with tables and chairs for writing. It is well stocked with books from deck to deck head.
The Theatre has its own pre, or post-dining bar in the shape of the Theatre Bar, a night spot with its own intimate dance floor. Next comes a small but important room - the Tour Office where the booking of shore excursions and tour arrangements can be conducted.
The design of the Double Room has already been mentioned: its principal area is here on the Upper Deck, with a recessed central section comprising the dance floor, so that people in the wings of the room have an unobstructed view of cabaret entertainment. The walls of the Double Room are generally anodised ribbed aluminium or Formica, with a fine linen-textured finish made especially for QE2. For carpeting, Jan Bannenberg chose a Chevron pattern, with a sculptured pile in three shades of red. The furniture, designed by William Plunkett , is covered in woollen fabrics in tints matching the carpeting. In common with the Britannia Restaurant, the Double Room extends the full width of the ship, and with its extension towards the stern, and area of 2,000 square feel, must be the largest public room in any liner.